Create value for customers

Create value for customers & align to changing mindsets

Creating value for customers today can be approached by understanding customers changing mindsets, values and experiences, that have arisen since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the thrust by which companies can focus on, as a strategy to acquire and retain customers.  In relation, customer trust for organisations is a fair gauge of their satisfaction levels and is key, in influencing purchase decisions.  

Trust levels for organisations

Today, customers trust levels for organisations are at best ambivalent.  Their underlying message to organisations is to ‘improve your trustworthiness’.  They tend to agree with the following statements in relation to organisations:-

  • “Difficult to earn my trust”
  • “I don’t trust companies to tell the truth”
  • “I don’t trust companies to act with customers’ best interest in mind”

This all suggests that there is a general sense of dissatisfaction, and can be co-related to several attributes of their changing mindsets. 

 Customers mindsets today

Customers are now forced to change their lifestyles, re-evaluate their needs and delivery  options.  Their mindsets have changed contingent to these challenges, and these attributes are reflected with the following focus areas and concerns:-

Focus areas

  • How company acts in a crisis reveals its trustworthiness
  • Digitalisation and how I engage with companies
  • Company values is a key influencer in my buying decision

Concerns

  • Fragmented customer journey and services
  • Breaches with data sharing and privacy

Focus areas

Customers are continually trying to ascertain the reliability of a company during this crisis.  They equate a company’s trustworthiness to how it acts during this crisis. This reliability refers to the company’s capabilities, responses and delivery abilities.  Based on their perception of reliability, customers are making up their minds to become or less trusting of a company due to its responses.  

Implicitly, these observations and evaluations of trustworthiness have a bearing on their buying behaviour.  Obviously, the more a company is able to live up to customers expectations and gain their trust, the higher the likelihood that there will be repeat buying, advocacy, retention and acquisition.  

Customers have become more receptive to technology and digital delivery. Even among the most “digitally resistant” customers eg. baby boomers, adoption has grown strongly.  Because of safety issues, they are spending more time online than they did before. For example, more than 44,000 viewers tuned in to Bank of China’s first three online shows, with leading investment managers sharing market insights and advice.

Digital delivery has become a necessity today.  For this reason, customers have elevated expectations of companies capabilities and expect digital initiatives to be accelerated.  Companies will need to ensure that their digital channels are on par with or better than those of their competitors to succeed in this new environment.

Customers are paying more attention to company values, which they want stated and demonstrated.  Among the values that customers care about include:-

  • treatment of customers and employees during this crisis
  • organisations need to play a bigger role in caring for society
  • accountability for the environment
  • ethical use of technology

These values and the ability of the company to ‘walk the talk’, are key influencers in customer purchase decisions – customers will switch companies if values are aligned. 

Concerns

Customer journeys encapsulate services offered across all touchpoints of the company.  Providing satisfactory services is a basic customer expectation but which companies are perennially challenged with.  Among the key issues encountered are fragmented journeys, lack of personalisation and having to repeat themselves to different representatives. 

Positive customer journeys and services cannot be underestimated, because customers do make repeat purchases or forgive a company for its mistakes, after receiving excellent service. 

Customers are anxious about how their personal information may be used.  They feel that most companies and agencies are not transparent and do not use their personal information to their benefit.  Customers understand the role of personal information in contact tracing, but are uncomfortable about sharing personal information to return to their workplace and in social settings.  On the other hand, customers also appreciate that data sharing can lead to improved products and services.

Companies and agencies can be more transparent about the information that they gather.  They can give customers control of their personal data and offer fair value for information collated. If not, companies risk losing customers goodwill and businesses altogether.

Emotional connection to your brand

Covid-19 can be viewed as a catalyst for companies to generate advocacy and loyalty among existing customers, and to acquire new customers.  In order to remain relevant, companies need to act immediately on changing customer mindsets.  Summarily, this means demonstrating reliability in product and service delivery, elevating and accelerating digital initiatives, ‘walk the talk’ with positive company values, provide service excellence, ensure no breaches with customer data and privacy.  Consistently creating and delivering on these new norm values will be noticed and remembered by customers – this is where the emotional connections to brands occur today.

References

  • Baig, A., Hall. B., Jenkins, P., Lamarre, E. & McCarthy, B.  (2020).  Digital adoption through COVID-19 and beyond.  McKinsey & Company.  Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/the-covid-19-recovery-will-be-digital-a-plan-for-the-first-90-days
  • Salesforce. (2020). State of the Connected Customer: 4th edition. Retrieved from https://c1.sfdcstatic.com/content/dam/web/en_us/www/documents/research/salesforcestate-of-the-connected-customer-4th-ed.pdf

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